Through the Looking-Glass

From Academic Kids

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) is a work of children's literature by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), and is the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In it, there are many mirror themes, including opposites, time running backward, and so on.



Whereas the first book has the deck of cards as a theme, this book is loosely based on a game of chess, for which the author provides a list of moves even if the game cannot be carried out legally due to a move where white doesn't move out of check (much as might happen if a young child were playing chess). Also the sequence of moves (white and red) is not always followed which goes along with the mirror image reversal theme in Through the Looking Glass as noted by Martin Gardner.

Recycled characters

The Mad Hatter and the March Hare make an appearance as the Hatta and Haigha.

Plot summary

Alice ponders what the world is like on the other side of a mirror, and to her surprise, is able to pass through to experience this world. She discovers a book with looking-glass poetry, Jabberwocky, which she can only read by holding it up to a mirror. Upon leaving the house, she enters a garden, where the flowers speak to her and mistake her for a flower. There, Alice also meets the Red Queen, who offers a throne to Alice if she just moves to the eighth rank in a chess match. Alice is placed as the White Queen's pawn, and begins the game by taking a train to the fourth rank, since pawns in chess move two spaces on the first move.

She then meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who she knows of from the famous nursery rhyme. After reciting to her the long poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter", the two proceed to act out the events of the poem. Alice continues on to meet the White Queen, who is very absent-minded and later transforms into a sheep.

The following chapter details her meeting with Humpty Dumpty, who explains to her the meaning of "Jabberwocky", before his inevitable fall from the wall. This is followed by an encounter with the Lion and the Unicorn, who again proceed to act out the nursery rhyme. She is then rescued from the Red Knight by the White Knight, who many consider to be a representation of Lewis Carroll himself.

At this point, she reaches the eight rank and becomes a queen, and by capturing the Red Queen, puts the Red King (who has remained stationary throughout the book) into checkmate. She then awakes from her dream (if it was a dream), and blames her black kitten (the white kitten was wholly innocent) for the mischief caused by the story. The two kittens are the children of Dinah, Alice's cat in the first book.

Poems and songs

"The Wasp in a Wig"

At the suggestion of his illustrator, John Tenniel, Lewis Carroll decided to suppress a scene involving Alice's encounter with a wasp wearing an old barrister's wig. The scene has been published in Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition.


"It's very good jam," said the Queen.
"Well, I don't want any to-day, at any rate."
"You couldn't have it if you did want it," the Queen said. "The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day."
(The word iam or jam in classical Latin means "now", but only in the future and the past.)

"Can you do Addition?" the White Queen asked. "What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?"
"I don't know," said Alice. "I lost count."
"She ca'n't do Addition," the Red Queen interrupted. "Can you do Subtraction? Take nine from eight."
"Nine from eight I ca'n't, you know," Alice replied very readily: "but—"
"She ca'n't do Subtraction," said the White Queen. "Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife—what's the answer to that?"
"I suppose—" Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen answered for her. "Bread-and-butter, of course. Try another Subtraction sum. Take a bone from a dog: what remains?"
Alice considered. "The bone wouldn't remain, of course, if I took it—and the dog wouldn't remain: it would come to bite me—and I'm sure I shouldn't remain!"
"Then you think nothing would remain?" said the Red Queen.
"I think that's the answer."
"Wrong, as usual," said the Red Queen: "the dog's temper would remain."
"But I don't see how—"
"Why, look here!" the Red Queen cried. "The dog would lose its temper, wouldn't it?"
"Perhaps it would," Alice replied cautiously.
"Then if the dog went away, its temper would remain!" the Queen exclaimed triumphantly.

External links

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it:Attraverso lo specchio e quel che Alice vi trov ja:鏡の国のアリス


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